Yellow spotted salamander makes dangerous trek once each year

The spotted salamander is abundant in the forests of North America, yet they are rarely seen. They hide underground, or deep under leaf litter, feeding on worms and insects at night, usually without venturing into the open. They emerge during breeding season in March to May each year, when the ice has barely melted on the nearby vernal ponds. The salamanders leave their cover to make their way en masse to the water where they breed. On a rainy night, as if every salamander for miles is answering the same call, on the same schedule, they begin a trek over open ground. It is a trip that renders them vulnerable to predators. But nature calls and the salamanders such as this one will answer that call. The eggs are laid in the vernal pools where they develop and hatch into tadpoles. The eggs of the spotted salamander hold a symbiotic relationship with an algae that grows within them. This provides energy and oxygen as the eggs mature. This is necessary because some of the eggs have a membrane that will not allow for oxygen to pass through from the surrounding water. Salamanders can live for up to 32 years in the wild. They must remain sheltered from the sunlight during that entire time. Their skin must remain moist for them to survive.